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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP28 Jul 2018 11:26 a.m. PST

"When an officer at the battle of Waterloo told the Duke of Wellington that Napoleon was in their gun sights, the field marshal replied that it was "not the business of commanders to be firing upon one another".

What seemed dishonourable for a battlefield soldier was not for politicians, for it seems that the British government was behind an assassination attempt on Napoleon in 1804, according to historian Andrew Roberts. He has unearthed archival material that he believes directly implicates cabinet minister Lord Castlereagh in the unsuccessful 1804 Cadoudal French royalist plot to assassinate Napoleon.

Roberts said: "Although historians have wondered whether or not the British were behind it, at the time the British government denied any connection and has done ever since. I have discovered the smoking-gun connection."…."
Main page


rmaker28 Jul 2018 12:02 p.m. PST

Every history I've read assumed that either Britain or Austria was behind it. Official denials aren't worth anything. After all, Napoleon denied being behind the kidnapping and murder of the Duc d'Enghein, too.

Brechtel19828 Jul 2018 3:00 p.m. PST

D'Enghien was tried and executed for treason. He was in the pay of a foreign government during time of war.

rmaker28 Jul 2018 7:57 p.m. PST

He'd also been stripped of his French citizenship, so the treason charge is nonsense. Add the fact that he was kidnapped from foreign territory and that the 'trial' was a drumhead court martial of questionable jurisdiction, with the prosecutor in possession of a pre-signed death warrant, and it amounted to assassination.

von Winterfeldt28 Jul 2018 10:29 p.m. PST

there is no smoking gun connection other than the usual grotesque speculations based on hearsay.
This article was demolished by a discussion on the napoleon series.

Personal logo 4th Cuirassier Supporting Member of TMP29 Jul 2018 1:45 a.m. PST

Corsican gangsters is as Corsican gangsters does.

Brechtel19829 Jul 2018 3:45 a.m. PST


D'Enghien was found guilty under Article 2 of the Law of 6 October 1791 which states that 'Any conspiracy and plot aimed at disturbing the State by civil war, and arming citizens against one another, or against lawful authority, will be punished by death.'

D'Enghien was being paid 4,200 guineas a year by the English government. As a Frenchman during wartime being charged with conspiracy, d'Enghien was subject to a military court-martial.

D'Enghien got what he deserved.

Brechtel19829 Jul 2018 4:05 a.m. PST

Anyone interested in the amnesties granted to French emigres in 1800 and 1802 can find the decree here:


Brechtel19829 Jul 2018 4:10 a.m. PST

Corsican gangsters is as Corsican gangsters does.

Reading Corelli Barnett are you?

Personal logo 4th Cuirassier Supporting Member of TMP29 Jul 2018 7:30 a.m. PST

If disturbing the state by civil war merited the death penalty why did Napoleon not order his own execution?

Brechtel19829 Jul 2018 7:53 a.m. PST

Where did Napoleon's actions, including the coup in November 1799, threaten civil war?

It was Napoleon's actions as head of state that stopped the mess in the Vendee, which was a civil war brought on by disruptive policies of the Revolutionary governments.

It was also Napoleon that brought back the emigres.

It was also Napoleon that brought back the Church and guaranteed freedom of worship.

So, how was the state 'disturbed' by Napoleon?

Brechtel19829 Jul 2018 7:55 a.m. PST

Regarding the British and Bourbon assassination attempts on Napoleon, the point remains that the British housed and supported the Bourbons in their actions against Napoleon and the French government. That makes the British government complicit in the Bourbon actions as they did nothing to stop it which they certainly could have.

That fact is irrefutable.

Brechtel19829 Jul 2018 7:59 a.m. PST

After all, Napoleon denied being behind the kidnapping and murder of the Duc d'Enghein, too.

Where did you find any sources or evidence for this fantastic claim? Talleyrand? One of the ministers who wanted Napoleon to act against d'Enghien?

Napoleon assumed full responsibility for the execution and believed that he had done the right thing. I'd like to see where you came up with your conclusion.

von Winterfeldt29 Jul 2018 11:38 a.m. PST

I forgot, le Breton demolished the article here as well.

Lion in the Stars29 Jul 2018 4:51 p.m. PST

Why is anyone even surprised by this? :headscratch:

42flanker Supporting Member of TMP29 Jul 2018 6:41 p.m. PST

This subject was thrashed out on TMP back in Dec 2017, the reference to British involvement in assassination attempts starting on page 2 of the thread.
TMP link

For those interested, Robert's assertions as referred to in the 2014 magazine article cited in the OP are addressed in this post on page 2:
TMP link
at 10 Dec 2017 4:49 a.m. PST

The word 'bogus' is not entirely unfair.

For good measure there is the parallel discussion on the Napoleon Series unhelpfully titled 'Lord Amherst & those damned blankets'- which turns quickly to 'who was worst' and Bourbon assassination attempts. It does go on a bit and the although the platform is clunky, it becomes addictive. Sadly the dating of the posts has gone awry. Some of the counter argument is summarised on the TMP thread above.


Brechtel19830 Jul 2018 4:58 a.m. PST

After all the hoopla, references, etc., the fact remains that the British both sheltered and supported the Bourbons and the plots and assassination attempts were launched from Great Britain.

Without tacit British assistance, none of them could have happened in the first place.

Perhaps someone can explain that phenomema? The British certainly didn't 'entertain' the Bourbons out of largesse for their 'plight.'

Personal logo 4th Cuirassier Supporting Member of TMP30 Jul 2018 6:53 a.m. PST

Bonaparte usurped the French throne. He had no more right to it than I do.

Brechtel19830 Jul 2018 7:14 a.m. PST

Please explain how Napoleon 'usurped' the French throne. He was Emperor of the French with popular approval, and he himself described the throne as 'an overdecorated piece of furniture.'

He was no more a usurper than Henry IV was, nor the British Hanoverian kings, or the Romanoffs, and he was much more admirable than any of them as well as being a reformer of note.

von Winterfeldt30 Jul 2018 9:24 a.m. PST

42flanker 23 Nov 2017 1:57 p.m. PST

'The Cavalry Lance (Weapon)'? – not especially.

'Georges Cadoudal et La chouannerie' by Georges Cadoudal (1887)' This is a sympathetic portrait of the Chouan leader, hardly surprising since the author was his nephew. He goes at some length to explain how Cadoudal was not implicated in the failed bomb attack on Napoleon.

Cadoudal neveu lists the names of the 50 Bretons Cadoudal oncle brought with him to England in 1802. The letter he wrote to Guillemot re. riding practice is reproduced in full in the Appendices.

Otherwise, there is no mention of Romsey, or of any form of training camp, 'guerilla' or otherwise.

As Cadoudal departed for France on his final mission, ostensibly to kidnap Bonaparte, the author emphasises: 'En lui remettant cette valeur, Pitt lui fait recommandé d'éviter frapper mortellement Bonaparte. S'il fait possible de l'avoir vivant, on devait l'envoyer en Angleterre… ' (p.296)

Notices sur Georges Cadoudal et le Morbihan pendant la revolution par Joseph Cadoudal (1829)

This, being a considerably shorter book, has less detail but the author is equally sympathetic (the clue might be in the name) and again emphasises Cadoudal's intention to mount an honorable attack, soldier to soldier, on the company of chasseurs escorting Bonaparte, prior to capturing the aspiring usurper (to be exiled to St Helena!) and placing the rightful King on the throne of France.

While he was in England, Cadoudal, promoted Lieutenant General by Monsieur, received a maintenance of a guinea per day from the British government which he found difficulty spending, since he had simple tastes, but his table manners and speech improved noticably during his time in London.

No reference to Romsey or a guerilla training camp.

Is the material that you had in mind?
Le Breton 25 Nov 2017 5:08 a.m. PST

I think 42flanker got in ahead of me ….

I found exactly what he found.

Here are Mr. Horrock's assertions, for which he offers no source citations:

1988 : In flight with the eagle: a guide to Napoleon's elite, by Raymond Horricks, page 207:
'…. the emigres' would-be assassin Georges Cadoudal .… the British-backed agent who had returned to France [in 1804] to organize yet another attempt on Napoleon's life .… had been running the royalists' guerilla training camp at Romsey – which Pitt had agreed to finance."

1982 : Marshal Ney: the romance and the real, by Raymond Horricks, page 57:
"But English government money financed [Cadoudal's] Romsey camp, finding its way to him via 'Fighting' William Windham, a close friend of Pitt's"

However, the passages from Horrock's are almost word for word transciptions of equally un-sourced passages from the Cronin biograpghy of Napoléon
See :
Napoleon : an intimate biography
Vincent Cronin
NY: Morrow, 1972
pages 224 et seq.


First one might note that Pitt's ministries ended 14 March 1801 and began 10 May 1804. For his final attempt on Napoléon's life, Cadoudal landed on 23 August 1803. Nor was Wyndam in government at this time (nor on particularly good terms with Pitt).

I have found reference to the ennumeration of 48 French officers housed in Romsey, most (royalist) survivors of the Quiberon landing in 1795. Nearby, there were 71 captured (revolutionary) French naval officers and petty officers. No disucssion of "training camps".
See :
French Emigration to Great Britain in Response to the French Revolution
Juliette Reboul
Berlin : Springer, 2017
page 174

The same from the memoirs of one of the French royalist emigrés resident at Romsey.
See :
Pierre du Pontavice : Gentilhomme breton, missionnaire méthodiste et pasteur réformé, notice composée sur des documents en partie inédits
Matthieu Lelièvre
Paris : Librairie Évangélique, 1904
Chapitre premier

In the standard (and admittedly hagiographic) biography of Cadoudal, he is said to have visited Romsey to try to gain supporters for his last mission. There is no mention of his staying there, any kind of training camp or anything like what Cronin (and later Horrocks) asssert.
See :
Georges Cadoudal
G. Lenotre
Paris : Grasset, 1929
pages 156 et seq.


Philippe d'Auvergne, a British naval officer from Jersey, is generally considered the key point of contact for espionage and counter-revolutionary agitation by the British – a more likely person for this job than the PRime Minister!
Based in Jesery where he might be said to have been Cadoudal's handler, d'Auvergne's operation was shut down after the Peace of Ameins and he was placed in non-activity on half-pay.
See :


Can you offer any source support that might help to see the assertions of Horrocks and Cronin as anything more than anti-British fantasies?

Brechtel19830 Jul 2018 9:34 a.m. PST

Cronin's book is sourced. All you have to do is look.

The question is as already put:

Without tacit British assistance, none of them could have happened in the first place. Perhaps someone can explain that phenomema? The British certainly didn't 'entertain' the Bourbons out of largesse for their 'plight.'

If you can answer, or at least attempt to answer, that question, then perhaps a useful and helpful discussion can ensue.

If not, then I would suspect that the 'discussion' is over?

Gazzola30 Jul 2018 11:01 a.m. PST

I wonder if the forthcoming title 'This Dark Business' will mention anything?

138SquadronRAF Supporting Member of TMP30 Jul 2018 1:47 p.m. PST

The British were, and remain, pragmatists. I see no difference between the efforts to assassinate Napoleon and those to assassinate Reinhard Heydrich.

Brechtel19830 Jul 2018 2:01 p.m. PST

Heydrich was not a head of state and he was a monster. Napoleon was a head of state and was not a monster. That is a very large difference.

Heydrich was in fact a cashiered German naval officer for misconduct. He was also quite possibly a psychopath. He got what he deserved.

Equating the two is ahistorical at best.

Further, innocent French civilians were murdered by the 'infernal machine' planted on the Rue St Nicaise. The plotters even had a fourteen-year-old girl hold the horse that pulled the cart with the bomb in it as they lighted the fuse and left. The girl died with the horse.

That is much more akin to Heydrich than Napoleon.

'Let them lead all Europe against me in arms, and I'll defend myself. An attack like that is legitimate. Instead, they try to get me by blowing up part of Paris and killing or injuring a hundred people; and now they've sent forty brigands to assassinate me. For that I'll make them shed tears of blood. I'll teach them to legalize murder.'-Napoleon.

That isn't 'pragmatism' that is cold-blooded murder.

foxweasel30 Jul 2018 2:06 p.m. PST

I agree Elliot, if possible get the enemy of your enemies to do your dirty work. It's just a pity it didn't succeed, it would have saved a lot of civilian suffering caused by another megalomaniac.

42flanker Supporting Member of TMP30 Jul 2018 2:26 p.m. PST

Cronin's book is sourced. All you have to do is look.

Indeed. We did look. Do we need to remind you of the results?

TMP link 01 Dec 2017 5:39 p.m.

TMP link 02 Dec 2017 6:21 a.m.

We found only a generalised reference (repeated twice) to a massive archive, that evidently Cronin had lifted from another book and it would seem not followed up, and which left us none the wiser.

Brechtel19830 Jul 2018 4:12 p.m. PST

How do you know that Cronin 'evidently had lifted' the information from another book?

If you don't know that for sure, the speculation is worthless.

Brechtel19830 Jul 2018 4:21 p.m. PST

The question remains:

Without tacit British assistance, none of them could have happened in the first place. Perhaps someone can explain that phenomema? The British certainly didn't 'entertain' the Bourbons out of largesse for their 'plight.'

42flanker Supporting Member of TMP30 Jul 2018 4:31 p.m. PST

The question to which you seem to be referring, as far as it is coherent, is based on a false premise. This whole subject was addressed fairly thoroughly in the earlier thread.

Consider, for instance:

Le Breton 23 Dec 2017 8:21 p.m.

TMP link

Brechtel19830 Jul 2018 4:34 p.m. PST

Sorry, the question remains. The British supported the Bourbons in England. They funded them and transported them across the channel.

The false premise being explored is that the British government had nothing to do with the assassination attempts.

Assuming that the British government knew nothing about them, which is highly unlikely, they were still tacitly involved because of their support for them and their inability to stop the assassination attempts for whatever reason.

It is a valid premise to explore. The British government was not innocent of involvement, active or passive.

In summary, I don't believe, and the evidence actually points in the other direction, that the British government was not involved.

The bottom line is answer the question that was put, if you don't mind.

42flanker Supporting Member of TMP30 Jul 2018 4:41 p.m. PST

I take it you didn't read the link.

42flanker Supporting Member of TMP30 Jul 2018 4:47 p.m. PST

Or rather, 'links.' Any of them.

foxweasel31 Jul 2018 1:39 a.m. PST

Even if the British did know about or help the plotters, so what? He was the enemy, that's what you do in war, kill the enemy and if you can knock the enemies head off all the better.

seneffe31 Jul 2018 1:49 a.m. PST

I'll certainly be buying it, but I hope it's better researched work than that which has gone before on this subject.

Taking the broader/longer view, the mostly but not entirely British spaonsored campaign of black propaganda information warfare against Napoleon, which I think it's safe to say WAS a feature of the period- does not stand alone. The French and their puppet states such as Westphalia did their fair share too I think- IIRC Sam Mustafa has done some work on this.

It's not unprecedented either. The campaign of vilification of Louis XIV by the Dutch beginning in the early 1670s with protestant Germans and the Brits joining in later went on pretty much until he died- best part of 50 years. Apparently this propaganda led attempt to mobilise opinion against Louis was because the Dutch and others held this (I'm sure completely unfounded) concern that he was seeking somehow to dominate his neighbours- and they didn't much fancy being dominated.

Personal logo 4th Cuirassier Supporting Member of TMP31 Jul 2018 2:06 a.m. PST

Napoleon seized the leadership of France by coup d'etat and established a kleptocracy headed by himself as both CEO and chairman and designed to enrich himself, his family and his cronies with lucre and power. This was corruptly maintained by political assassinations, fiddled plebiscites, brutal military suppression of uprisings, invasion of and further coups d'etat in other countries, and a complete absence of anything recognisable as democratic legitimacy.

He was the greatest general since Alexander the Great, but unfortunately he was an abject moral incompetent on every possible level. This makes him a much more interesting individual than, say, Wellington, who was Napoleon's equal as a battle captain, but was in comparison profoundly boring in all other respects.

For example, even in the realm of rumpy-pumpy, Napoleon led and Wellington merely followed. Napoleon obsessively bonked women called Marie – Marie-Josèphe-Rose, Marie Walewska, Marie-Louise of Austria – and required that they not bath for a few days before each reunion. Wellington had a pop at several of Napoleon's exes but was otherwise completely vanilla, as one might expect of someone who was constructively a public sector employee.

So Napoleon was a great general but you really, really didn't want the guy in charge of your country, unless you were Elba. If he had lived in modern times, he'd have been someone like the Wolf of Wall Street.

Brechtel19831 Jul 2018 3:46 a.m. PST

I take it you didn't read the link.

I've read them. Some good points and some nonsense. And from a completely British point of view, or, British apologists.

42flanker Supporting Member of TMP31 Jul 2018 4:11 a.m. PST

May I ask, which were the good points and which parts were nonsense?

And how did a British point of view manifest itself in investigation of the references cited (bearing in mind that Le Breton is a Francophile American)?

foxweasel31 Jul 2018 4:32 a.m. PST

British apologists
What does that mean?

von Winterfeldt31 Jul 2018 5:55 a.m. PST

about Cronin

Napoleon Bonaparte: An Intimate Biography

Cronin, Vincent. Napoleon Bonaparte: An Intimate Biography. NY: Morrow/London, UK: Collins, 1971. 480 pages. ISBN# 0002115603. Hardback.

In his Preface the writer explains that this is a study of Napoleon's character, an attempt to "picture a living, breathing man." The military campaigns are only outlined, although civil matters are dealt with in more depth; it is the author's declared intention to concentrate on events that throw light on Napoleon's character. He has taken an interesting line in pursuing the romantic, imaginative aspect of Napoleon's personality, one which is often neglected. Napoleon's reading material is described, as are his early writings; an essay on happiness, a ghost story and a romantic, tragic novel. There is much on the development of 'Corsican attitudes and values'— notably the sense of justice and its 'dark side,' revenge; also thrift, honour and courage. It is the author's argument that these traits were persistent throughout Napoleon's life and that "he guided his life by two principles: Republicanism and honour." This is the distinctive feature of this biography, so I will look at this aspect, and the author's presentation of it, rather than the handling of the major historical events.

In the first few chapters an attractive picture of Napoleon is created which is easily maintained through the early military career. In this light the relationship with Josephine appears more convincing than in some other versions. Up to the Consulate the book follows chronological order; after that each chapter covers a separate aspect of Napoleonic rule, reverting to chronological order with the 1812 campaign. The personal aspect is stressed throughout, and there are interesting character points still to make in the final chapters, such as a rather fine account of the prolonged game Napoleon played on St Helena with Sir Hudson Lowe, "Napoleon, in short, liked to pose as a victim of injustice, knowing full well that he was the master, Lowe the victim." In contrast we are shown the phenomenon of unpleasant accusations about the women in his life as fantasy due to loneliness and humiliation and the Corsican influence appearing again in the accusation of assassination against the 'English oligarchy' in his will.

One of the author's key points is the rebuttal of the Bourrienne quote: "Friendship is only a word." He discusses the number and quality of Napoleon's friendships and his reluctance to break with a friend. The chapters on the 1812 campaign place much emphasis on Napoleon's relationship with Alexander of Russia, the friendship theme is played very strongly here with the suggestion that Napoleon "felt keen personal disappointment" when Alexander kept letting him down. In Moscow we learn that Napoleon "was convinced that he and Alexander could be close friends again," but that his failure to appreciate the situation was due to "a certain insensitivity in human relationships." That last remark is, considering the circumstances, a fine example of the author's capacity for understatement. Napoleon's belief that his marriage relationship to the Austrian Emperor would secure the support of Austria in 1813 was to end in yet more disappointment; "Napoleon was just not enough of a cynic— or of a psychologist."

The chapters describing Napoleon's achievements as ruler and lawgiver may well be correct in substance, but the style gives cause for concern. Over controversial matters Napoleon is given the benefit of the doubt every time, his motives are always presented as benign, although a few character defects, such as impatience, dislike of criticism and in later life, over-optimism, are admitted. For instance, Napoleon's use of censorship and press control was "a mark of weakness… Napoleon would be more attractive if he had been able to rise above that weakness." And again: "Napoleon's guiding purpose in the Empire was to export liberty, equality, justice and sovereignty of the people," is qualified a little later by "It is true there were blots on the imperial picture. Too often Napoleon acted brusquely, while Jerome overspent…" There is much about the benefits of the Empire, the Code Napoleon, tax reform, hospitals, liberalisation of trade etc. and doubtless much of it is true. However, because of the continued wars, which are accepted as being defensive in nature, "Napoleon was obliged to impose heavy taxes and, in Germany, conscription. He was obliged to cut off imports of overseas goods…"

Cronin's system is to produce a rose-tinted picture of events by missing out anything unpleasant. Censorship is deplored, yet the extent of control is understated and no mention is made of the interception of private letters. During Napoleon's quarrel with the Pope (Chapter 14) we learn that the pope was 'removed' to Savona, and later, 'transferred' to Fontainebleau; words such as 'prisoner' and 'captivity' just do not occur. In Chapter 6 it is said, admiringly, that "the Buonapartes believed in love" and the example is given of Lucien marrying for love "at the cost of his political career." The omission is that Lucien's career was wrecked because Napoleon ordered him to put aside his wife so that he could make a dynastic marriage, and he refused, this shows the true value Napoleon placed on love and honour.

Cronin's version of the overthrow of the Spanish monarchy (Chapter 17) is very brief, "…a popular rising against Godoy sent the royal family scurrying into exile in France. Napoleon accepted Charles' abdication in 1808 and made Spain a kingdom within the French Empire." There is no mention of the French armies already occupying Spain nor of the pressures exerted to get the Spanish royal family into French territory, much less of the violent repression of Spanish objections. It is not explained why a convinced republican should have chosen to impose a king on the people of Spain.

The statement that republicanism and honour were the guiding principles of Napoleon's life is repeated throughout the book in various forms; this raises obvious questions about the Imperial crown. It is said that it was possible to be emperor of a Republic because the ancient Romans used this form; but we are told that it was at his own insistence that Napoleon had a religious consecration, and adopted the symbols of the Frankish kings. He also took the crown of Italy, put monarchs of his own family in charge of Holland, Naples, Spain and Westphalia and named his infant son 'King of Rome'. This is all in the book, the demise of the existing Republics being left unexplained. One may believe that Napoleon had republican principles as a young man; but it seems evident that he discarded them once in power.

Honour is here defined as 'the love of glory in pursuit of virtue', but it is not clear exactly what either Napoleon or the author mean by it. Napoleon clearly believed in the concept of honour, talked about it a lot and used it as an argument, but it is hard to find an instance where he allowed it to interfere with his aims. It is shown that in 1795 to avoid serving with the Army of the West he took sick leave, then a desk job, and made attempts to go to Russia or Turkey. This does not suggest the 'love of honour and love of the French Republic' upon which the author insists. Cronin also writes of Marie Waleska: "Honour and republicanism had mingled with passion to make this one of the most important relationships of his life." Given Napoleon's views on the importance of marriage and of virtue in women, what honour is there in seducing a previously virtuous married woman from her husband by exploiting her patriotism?

Cronin's version of events, he states, is based on "a critical evaluation of sources." Appendix A discusses the reliability of Napoleonic memoirs, explaining why some frequently used sources are of little value. The source of his explanations is not given, so it is difficult to assess them. It is poor logic though, to say that because Marmont betrayed Napoleon his reasons for the betrayal must be invalid, this prejudges both parties. Cronin says: 'the above nine writers are, I believe, unreliable sources, and I have treated them with extreme caution. Normally I have drawn on them only for statements which they had no reason to distort and which are backed up by more impartial evidence.' There is a risk here that the material used is selected because it agrees with the author's viewpoint; why not just use the 'more impartial evidence'? One source used in the boyhood section is the Notebooks of Alexandre de Mazis, but we are not told the origin of this text nor why we should consider it reliable; those who claim to have been at school with the subsequently famous are not always the most truthful.

There are no footnotes with the text but each chapter has notes and sources in the back of the book. Sometimes the source of a statement is linked to the paragraph in the text, but often it cannot be identified. In Chapter 2 it is stated that "We have three authentic incidents from the Brienne years." Turning to the notes, it would appear that the source for the 'Brienne years' is Masson's Napoleon Inconnu, no primary source for the incidents related is given. More seriously, in Chapter 16 the arrest of the duc d'Enghien is described and the statements of d'Enghien, which implicate him in the plot, are given in direct speech, which would lead us to expect a primary source, but a check with the notes gives: A. Boulay de la Meurthe, Les dernieres annees du duc d'Enghien, 1886. This gives us no idea where Boulay de la Meurthe got his information. A wide variety of sources are quoted, many of them are secondary, including other biographies. The only chapter which seems to be largely based on primary sources is Chapter 15, on the Treaty of Amiens and its rupture.

The use of the primary sources is very selective: I can find passages in Caulaincourt, Gourgaud and Bertrand which contradict the author's views, yet he includes these as his reliable sources. He also includes Lecestre's Lettres inedites de Napoleon I— omitted from the original Correspondance because they show the Imperial rule at its worst. One wonders if Cronin actually read them, since they are incompatible with his picture of Napoleon as idealistic and honourable, a heroic figure with just enough flaws to make him human. To talk of "blots on the imperial picture" is the most feeble of understatements when the picture is completely wiped out by reading Napoleon's own words.

Reviewed by Susan Howard.
Placed on the Napoleon Series: November 2005

Brechtel19831 Jul 2018 6:39 a.m. PST

No, that's a review about Cronin which is a highly biased review that does not accurately portray the book.

42flanker Supporting Member of TMP31 Jul 2018 7:28 a.m. PST

It is certainly a critical review, pointing out a selective approach to events which suggests a certain lack of objectivity on the part of the author.

It might be argued that Susan Howard's unadmiring opinion of Napoleon Bonaparte makes her an ideal reviewer for Cronin's book, well suited to examine the author's limited approach for the reader and create a balance to his own apparent bias.

However, I suspect Winterfeld has posted this review mainly because of the final section, which highlights Cronin's unconvincing source citations, echoing what we reported here on TMP in the thread referred to above at:

30 Jul 2018 2:26 p.m. PST

Brechtel19831 Jul 2018 8:10 a.m. PST

Just a minor question-have you read the book?

42flanker Supporting Member of TMP31 Jul 2018 8:45 a.m. PST

A minor question, but intriguing, given that, as you say, you have read the links posted above, in which Breton and I explain our investigation of Cronin's assertions and his source citations.

I was hoping to hear details of the good points that you identified there, and, of course, the nonsense as well.

Brechtel19831 Jul 2018 9:26 a.m. PST

I think that the threads posted are self-explanatory and as I was one of the people who posted on those threads it is also self-explanatory that I had read them.

Again, have you read Cronin's book?

Further, despite all of the hoopla and whatever else negative has been said about Cronin's book, his material has not been disproven.

42flanker Supporting Member of TMP31 Jul 2018 9:57 a.m. PST

Well, then it would be interesting to learn which of the points, in those posts that you re-read, you found to be well made.

(Especially the points relating to our examination of Cronin's work, as I mentioned a couple of times now).

Brechtel19801 Aug 2018 4:02 a.m. PST

Napoleon seized the leadership of France by coup d'etat and established a kleptocracy headed by himself as both CEO and chairman and designed to enrich himself, his family and his cronies with lucre and power. This was corruptly maintained by political assassinations, fiddled plebiscites, brutal military suppression of uprisings, invasion of and further coups d'etat in other countries, and a complete absence of anything recognisable as democratic legitimacy…

Napoleon's government was not a 'kleptocracy' and was not designed 'to enrich himself.' Even a quick study of Napoleon's government proves that comment false and a gross historical misrepresentation.

It does, however, echo the nonsense in both Alan Schom's and Corelli Barnett's 'biographies' of Napoleon both of which are error-ridden and ahistorical and that do not follow historical inquiry in the slightest.

Brechtel19801 Aug 2018 9:10 a.m. PST

a complete absence of anything recognisable as democratic legitimacy.

And which European country was actually a democracy? None of the Continental powers nor was Great Britain with its corrupt political system in Parliament. At best, Great Britain at this time was a constitutional monarchy, as was Napoleonic France.

The United States was not a democracy either, being a constitutional republic.

When discussing the period in politics or anything else, the position should be taken within the context of the times, not in early 21st century terms.

Brechtel19801 Aug 2018 9:13 a.m. PST

This was corruptly maintained by political assassinations, fiddled plebiscites, brutal military suppression of uprisings, invasion of and further coups d'etat in other countries…

Uprisings and revolts for any nation of the period were put down brutally. Napoleon's invasions were usually the result of being attacked, as in 1805, 1806, 1807, and 1809. Russia was a preemptive strike, and Spain can be debated and discussed until all of us are blue in the face.

You are attributing to Napoleon all of the problems of the period, which is historical nonsense. Perhaps if you could give examples of what you are posting, maybe something useful can be made of this discussion.

Gazzola01 Aug 2018 11:13 a.m. PST


I think that World War 1 quite clearly shows how an assassination, rather than solving anything, can lead to further bloodshed, death and suffering, including civilians.

And if an assassination could solve anything, I am sure the allies would have organised one in 1815, funded by Britain of course, rather than go to war and cause the death of thousands of people. Yet they chose war.

In terms of evidence proving that the British did fund, aid or help organise someone else to do their dirty work, I can't see the British government not making sure it is well covered up and difficult to detect.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP01 Aug 2018 11:28 a.m. PST

Question: Were there plots to kill the King of Prussia, of England, of Spain or the Tzar of Russia by Napoleon? … if they had existed … would it have been good because those states were at war with France? … And if they had been successful … Napoleon would have been considered a defender of his homeland or a murderer … on the other hand … if people opposed to the crown of one of those countries had plotted to kill some of those monarchs on French soil … without the support or knowledge of Napoleon … and would have been successful … history would not have condemned him equally? … who would have believed that this plot was developed on French soil and none of Napoleon government official would never have found out?

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